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PatMine © is developed as an add-in for Solid-Works using Visual Studio C# APIs. The tool is a front end that connects to the database backend which is Neo4j database. The backend is a schema free graph database, and similarly the front end was built to maintain this feature. Although the main entities are: 1) patent or emerging design, 2) product, 3) claims, 4) geometries, and 5) FGIs. The first label given to a node, determines its type. In this case the basic node types are the five main entities just mentioned. Higher level abstractions are included as extra labels, such as geometries PatMine conceptual higher abstracted types. Columns headers in the excel sheets to upload to Neo4j are used as properties names, and their row contents as their values. This enables dynamic extraction of information as our knowledge of the patent document structure increase, or as more domain experts enrich the graph ontology with more object types, relationship types and taxonomy.
The tool adds a toolbar that contain button to invoke the functionalities offered by the system. First: an interface to define the FAD model components for the emerging design. Second functionality is to search and browse the FAD models for the patents stored in the database. A third functionality is to compare the emerging design’s FAD with all patents’ FAD and display the comparison results, in terms of charts of match ranks, overlapping geometries and interactions, corresponding patent document retrieval with the FAD annotations highlighted, and image thumbnails of the important drawing in the patent document. A fourth functionality expose all environment variables and system settings to be updated by the user to enable dynamic behaviour of the system as much as possible.
1. Annotating using FAD This dialogue allow the designer to annotate the emerging design using the FAD annotation model. This is divided in three tabs: 1) the design and product names and the claims it provides; 2) the list of geometric features the design contains; and 3) the list of FGIs between the defined geometries.
2. Searching & Browsing the PatMine Patents Database This interface loads all patents modelled in the PatMine database, to draw its FAD diagram, and allow editing its annotation. Editing is enabled by invoking the FAD annotation UI to model every patent in the database, add and/or remove these annotations.
3. Comparing the Emerging Design with the patents in the PatMine Database The FAD annotation of the emerging design is compared to the annotated patents in the PatMine database. Graphs and score illustrations are used to summarise the comparison results.
4. Importing from Excel The database is populated from excel sheets describing the FAD annotations uploaded directly to the database back end. Direct loading is performed sometimes, or through the PatMine SolidWorks Add-in © User Interface. The file should contain 6 sheets. First sheet must contain the following order of column headers to describe the patent, with rows describing the contents. Extra Columns can be added for any extra desirable property to maintain, given that the first row will contain the property name and the following rows will contain the values for the corresponding patents:
|Patent_ID||Name||Patent Filename||Thumbnail File||Annotated File|
|"EP 0 344 377 B1"||"cork extracting apparatus"||EP0344377B1.pdf||EP0344377B1.png||EP0344377B1_annotated.pdf|
For an emerging design, the filename needs to be the solidworks file name:
Please note that to upload to the same database, All IDs belonging to the same entity (such as patent, product, claim, ...etc) need to be unique across all patents and emerging design. Such that we don’t repeat Product ID 1 for different Patents for example.
The second sheet need to list the products the patent or emerging design describe, and repeat the patent ID for referential integrity, followed by any list of properties as required in extra columns:
The third sheet is to list the claims, and again repeat the product ID for referential integrity and also list any extra properties as extra columns:
|2||2||"CorkScrew with a guide frame provided for guiding a corkscrew into a cork and for limiting down- ward movement of the corkscrew with respect to the bottle."|
The fourth sheet is to list functions (repeating product ID, and all extra properties):
|2||2||"down- ward movement."|
The fifth sheet contain the geometries, again repeating the product ID, and again making sure all geometries across all products and patents have different ID number:
|Product_ID||Geometric Feature ID||Geometric Feature Name||Geometric Feature Type|
|2||3||Bottle engaging means||Casing|
The sixth sheet should contain the FGIs, and also repeat the product ID, and also both geometries IDs then action, FGI:
|Product_ID||FGI ID||First Geometric ID||Action||Second Geometric ID||Function IDs|
Please Note: For all columns string columns such as filenames and names are checked for quotes, and if not there, will be added by the code. For the Extra properties added in every sheet, the default is numeric (no quotes are added), but when the content of the cell contain a space, quotes are added and treated as string property.
Please Note: Column Names must not contain spaces!
Please Note: Same entity IDs from the patents file, or emerging design file, can not overlap. They will be uploaded to the same database at the end. When they overlap, it will mean it is the same entity and no new node will be created, just a relationship to the existing node. An overlap in geometries IDs between patents and other patents or emerging designs, will make an interaction meant to be between two geometries in one patent appear in other patent or design where only the overlapping geometry existed but not the interaction! In the automatic generation of diagrams, the added interaction will drag a foreign geometry to the design, added only for the interaction, and it will not be formatted equally like other geometries that genuinely belong to the design and was properly formatted. If this weird diagram is generated, review your IDs first thing.
Using the correct order of sheets, and columns, will guarantee successful automatic uploading the emerging design excel sheet from the FAD UI. The patents will be uploaded from a different excel sheet using the PatMine Database search and browse UI. Therefore we need two different excel sheets to fully complete a cycle. The concept of full annotation of the emerging design, can be an extra column, and a radio button in the FAD UI.